Today’s hype fallen for is social bookmarking. I’m a little late to this one, having not really bothered with the signup process for del.icio.us (and finding it ugly anyway).
But bsag’s posting, comparing two new entrants into the scene, sparked my interest again.
I’ve signed up for Ma.gnolia. (The strange custom of the dot in the middle of the word is a recent hallmark of the cool new web app. It makes a virtue out of a necessity – most of the decent domain names are already taken – and it’s a creative way to get the one you want. The “Adult” industry was, as always, onto this sort of thing long ago, which is why the people running the Cook Islands registry have to be careful registering companies for their .com equivalent, .co.ck.)
Anyway, social bookmarking. (Sorry, can’t help it. Do you notice how the term is “bookmarks”, and not “favorites”? Yes. The innovators in this space are not generally people for whom Internet Explorer is their only web browser.) If you are familiar with Flickr you’ll get the concept immediately: Flickr borrowed a lot from del.icio.us, the seed for most of the social networking apps we see on the web today. The idea is that you store all your bookmarks on the web, and that others can see them as well. Typically they are further categorised by tags, so that if you want to see what other people are bookmarking in the “rugby” category, say, it becomes easy to do this. It’s all designed to help you find cool stuff faster. Or as the Ma.gnolia people explain here : “Found is the New Search”.
Social Bookmarking sites will also give you little pieces of code for your website that show the last few bookmarks you’ve entered (see my home page for a current example) and offer easy ways to add bookmarks.
Different sites take slightly different tacks on all this stuff. Ma.gnolia allows users to have private bookmarks that can’t be seen by others, something I’ve wanted for a while in these sorts of apps. Also, they allow for the setup of moderated and unmoderated groups, so that a group of people interested in a common topic could pool their bookmarks. I can see this being quite good for groups of co-workers, for instance, as well as for the kinds of ad-hoc communities that the internet is so good at facilitating. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I can see myself using it as a storage spot for all those interesting links that I don’t have time for at work, or want to keep for another day in a place where I can easily find them. And for finding things I might not otherwise have found easily on my own.
And so far, it’s working quite well.